the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

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More costs of being sick.

Well, I just got a bill from physical therapy– apparently, there was a visit that they billed to Medicare when I was stumbling along the path to get all that situated.

Just under $70.  This after my father informed me last Wednesday night that my grandparents had dismissed the idea of a gym membership as a gift as too expensive and that we might as well forget about expecting such.  (My grandparents are health freaks, in a sort of Spartan way.)  I explained to him that I could perceive the strings that were attached to their gift of the gas cards each month, and that I generally did not DARE to inform my grandfather very much if he forgot about sending another one.  I was told at one point– probably my mother– that he did not want to be perceived as a bank.

(I received a $100 check for my last birthday, and spent it as frugally as I could.  Although my grandmother was chattering about wanting to give us kids money now when we could use it, not when they died, she IS growing senile, and I suspect there was dissent and disagreement between her and him concerning it.)

My father and I have a half-spoken agreement that we both have difficultly abiding the small spectacle my grandmother's senility is becoming– she was annoying enough when her mind was clear, and now it's getting much, much worse.  It's like putting a guilt trip on an old vinyl record that skips and skips… no, it's not to the strangeness of how a CD skips yet, but it's pretty close.  I asked how Mom was taking it, and my hunch was correct that she simply isn't, as he replied affirmatively to such.

I told Dad that we would probably invite my baby sister and her new husband here, and minimize the time spent at his house.  I can tell he accepts and even shares that sentiment, but I can see the negotiator gears spinning in his head wishing we had a different, more seemingly diplomatic solution.  I had already told him that I was growing weary of my grandmother's company, and that we were going to my in-laws for after-Christmas dinner this year.

I am a pretty hyperviligant person, and so, as some of you know, I still hate writing about it here because it looks bad, but… I just can't keep stuffing it down… those feelings come back like undead zombies later.

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The dark side of the gamer culture.

A friend of mine at church used to wear a Starfleet pin on his suit.  This week, it was gone.

I asked him why, and said I always took opportunities to tease fellow geeks.  He said he wasn't into it as much anymore– he more or less left the Trekkie culture because he saw too much degeneration– fans that were malnourished but yet had a new Starfleet uniform.

I told him I had left the Camarilla (although I did not mention it as such) for similar reasons– some members not taking care of themselves psychologically as well as physically.  I also mentioned that I was having problems with family that were members, and with all the drama and such, I had enough.

I have heard of some Cammies that cannot pay their rent, but yet had money to travel to and attend conventions.  I attended only one con (not Cam related) outside of my hometown with Cimmorene, and that was before we had children.  It was at Seattle University down in the U-district, and we didn't prepare to stay in the dorms– we stayed all right, but we had no sheets.  It was a lot of fun, but not something we could readily repeat.  We continued attending the local con until we were certain that our daughter was too old and too active for a con– most gamers, I think, cannot abide a near 5-year old that must be physically active and is easily bored.

My sister and brother-in-law also allowed Cammies to live with them who had serious social problems.  One constantly ate food and swilled Pepsi all day long (and ate a lot of their food, too)– stunk up one of the bedrooms (the smell lingered for weeks), and stole from the domain.  The other was a woman who let a flirtatious attitude destroy her marriage– her husband cheated with a married woman in retaliation, and their kids were psychologically torn apart.  She came down for a con in the region and was crashing at their place– and didn't leave for a while.  She abandoned her job without notice, and also stayed for a young man in the domain– who actually was a little too touchy-feely with my sister at the time.  Another roommate was less dramatic and annoying, but had a habit of occupying the washer and dryer with his clothes.  Fortunately… he made plans for a place of his own very, very quickly.

I've mentioned that I left the Cam because I wanted to preserve harmonious family relations– things improved immensely with my sister since I left.  I was resentful that my family had remained in their respective positions for years– it was the same when the group was a chapter within the domain, and it remained such when the group comprised most of the domain that is left presently.  It was plagued with fallout from very old rivalries and apathy due to former members seemingly drawing away to OWoD troupe games, and isolation due to very small neighboring domains on our side of the state.  Spokane got hit with a lot of the same problems we did.

I've also mentioned that I married into a gaming family, but my in-laws grew disillusioned after too many members of their D&D group let too much putzy male adolescent behavior prevail.  My mother-in-law is still somewhat involved with the prose-based/freeform online community, and their explanations of what they would consider ideal pointed more to that gaming tradition.  Any interest in the wargaming tradition was long gone.

And thus, for me, the online gaming community is all I have left.  I dabbled in prose-based a bit, but I am a typical guy– I always leaned more to the wargaming tradition.  And yet, opportunities shrank.  An old friend I used to roll dice with and make character sheets with (an old Dungeon/Game Master) seems to be experiencing similar growing pains.  He never invited me to any of his long-standing groups, but preferred to create groups with my wife, his partner, and a few trusted friends.  He left the last local con in disgust– nothing has really changed– apparently, he no longer wants to put up with the lowest common denominator and the banality of such, complaining of 'mediocre gaming'.

Many gamer friends are gone or drifting away.  This friend and I played with a few other guys– one is his current roommate, and the other got lost in homebodiness and big family– he stopped contacting us… and drifted away.  I contacted him a few times, but he lives in another city, and the friendship had languished for far too long.

So Runescape is about all I have left, and played old arcade hits with my daughter– and yet the former (in fansite communities) have had too much drama, as well.

So– am I just outgrowing the adolescent behaviors that some hardcore gamers are too wont to cling to, or is there simply a point when 'gaming' just isn't mature enough?

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